Agenda item

PLANNING APPLICATION NO. 13/3219/03 - Former Foxhayes Primary School, Gloucester Road, Exeter

To consider the report of the Assistant Director City Development.


(Report to Committee meeting of 24 June attached and update to follow)



The Assistant Director City Development presented the application for temporary consent for up to three years for the installation of temporary buildings on land at Gloucester Road for use by the Steiner Academy Exeter (education use (D1)), creation of a temporary outdoor play area and associated works.


The Assistant Director reported that, following deferral of this application at the previous meeting of this Committee, a site visit had been held at the proposed site on 2 July 2013. He advised that a permanent site at Thomas Hall, north of Cowley Bridge Road, had been identified for which Department of Education funding and a licence had been confirmed. In the event of the school being unable to move after the expiry of the consent period a further application would be necessary. He stated that temporary buildings were to be found at other schools in Exeter and on other sites in the City such as at the hospital. The start and finish times had been amended to minimise traffic disruption in the area.


He reported the receipt of further letters of support.


Devon County Council’s Highway Development Management Officer (Exeter) provided data in respect of traffic management issues associated with Exwick Heights Primary School and the proposed school including accident data which showed that only two accidents had occurred, neither of which were directly related to the school.


Members were circulated with an update sheet - attached to minutes.


Councillor Hannaford, having given notice under Standing Order No.44, spoke on the item. He raised the following points:-


  • had requested deferral of the application at the previous meeting for further consideration to be given to the significant traffic problems in the area such as speeding traffic including buses, parking and general access to both schools
  • proposed traffic management measures should be more rigorous, for example, additional signing and traffic calming measures are required. At present, Exwick Heights Primary School undertakes own policing of traffic at peak times
  • insufficient measures had been taken to improve pedestrian access in the area. The County Council were yet to progress a Compulsory Purchase Order to facilitate a pedestrian route to the Exwick Heights Primary School and providing pedestrian access to the new school via Pine Avenue would be difficult to monitor. The pedestrian route to Exwick Heights along Exwick Lane was difficult during winter conditions
  • regret temporary nature of buildings proposed. A permanent facility would be preferable which could be used as a youth or children’s’ centre when the school vacates
  • acknowledge letters of support but two letters of objections on traffic grounds have also been received referring to congestion at peak times including the impossibility of entering or leaving Gloucester Road during these times.


Councillor Pearson, having given notice under Standing Order No.44, spoke on the item. He raised the following points:-


  • support diversity in children’s’ education provision
  • area suffers traffic problems which will be exacerbated by the new school
  • the geography of the area leads to the traffic problems and the Foxhayes site is on the brow of the hill which adds to the difficulties
  • welcome  the staggering of the school opening and finishing times but traffic will remain problematic with some cars, for example, taking time to leave after school
  • insufficient traffic calming measures provided
  • the wide catchment area for the school, with some 40 % of pupils originating from outside the Exeter boundary, adds to the overall problem
  • welcome identification of a permanent site for the school as temporary classrooms are unsuitable for education
  • would welcome conditions to help infrastructure in the area.


Mr Hunt, the agent, spoke in support of the application. He raised the following points:-


  • the school will be temporary until its move to Thomas Hall, north of Cowley Bridge Road, for which the Department of Education has confirmed capital and revenue funding with the school starting in September 2015
  • the temporary accommodation complies with current building regulations and is flexible and suitable and will be subject to Ofsted monitoring to ensure that they are fit for purpose
  • there has been frequent liaison with the Highway Authority regarding the site Travel Plan which is comprehensive and covers a range of measures. It will be an evolving document and will change to respond to changing circumstances over the two year period. The Highway Authority support the proposals which will minimise disruption
  • have co-ordinated opening hours with those of the Exwick Heights Primary School to minimise disruption
  • two locations have been identified for a walking bus which will reduce the number of car journeys through Gloucester Road
  • the overall number of journeys will reduce as the Exwick Heights Primary School expands and the Steiner School vacates to its new site
  • the implications of refusal are serious and will disrupt the wider education system in Exeter as well as causing distress to parents and pupils
  • national planning policy encourages sustainable solutions to education provision especially in urban areas


The Chair requested that the measures to be agreed as part of the condition relating to pedestrian access through Pine Avenue will prevent cars blocking the road when dropping off/picking up children. He also identified the need to consider further traffic management measures in consultation with the applicant and the highway authority. He also moved that the period of temporary consent be amended to two years and six months and this was supported.


The recommendation was for approval subject to the conditions as set out in the report.


RESOLVED that planning permission for temporary consent for up to two years and six months for the installation of temporary buildings on land at Gloucester Road for use by the Steiner Academy Exeter (education use (D1)), creation of a temporary outdoor play area and associated works be approved, subject to the following conditions:-


1)         C05  -  Time Limit – Commencement


2)         The buildings hereby approved shall be wholly removed from the site and the use shall be discontinued and the site restored to its former condition no later than 31st January 2016 .

Reason:  The buildings are temporary in nature and are unsuitable as a permanent features in this locality.


3)         The development hereby permitted shall not be carried out otherwise than in strict accordance with the submitted details received by the Local Planning Authority on 2nd and 20th May 2013 (dwg. nos. Site Location plan, 72/0008274-101 Rev J, SK-01 Rev A, 07R-678DCT-21-01 Rev C and 07R-372SCT-21-01 Rev D), as modified by other conditions of this consent.

Reason:  In order to ensure compliance with the approved drawings.


4)         The development hereby approved shall not be brought into use until the pedestrian access from the site onto Pine Avenue has been re-instated for use in accordance with measures that shall previously have been submitted to and agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Thereafter the said access shall be maintained and made available for use in accordance with those details for the duration of the consent.

Reason: To ensure that adequate facilities are available for the traffic attracted to the site, in the interest of public safety   


5)         Unless otherwise agreed by the Local Planning Authority in writing no part of the development hereby approved shall be brought into its intended use until

(1) the access, parking facilities, turning area and associated road markings have been provided in accordance with details that shall have been submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority, and

(2) the applicant has entered into a Section 106 Agreement, or equivalent arrangement, with the County Council to secure the making of a Traffic Regulation Order relating to the road markings referred to in (1) above.

Thereafter those items referred to in (1) above shall be retained for the intended purpose at all times.

Reason : To ensure that a safe and suitable access is provided for all users to the site, in accordance with paragraph 32 of the National Planning Policy Framework.


6)         The School Travel Plan prepared by RPS Planning and Development Ltd on behalf of the Education Funding Agency, and submitted in support of this application, shall be implemented in full upon commencement of the development hereby approved. Thereafter it shall be reviewed on an annual basis in accordance with the provisions set out in Section 4.3 of the document. Any amendments identified in the annual review shall be submitted to and agreed in writing by the Planning Authority and shall thereafter form part of the approved plan.

Reason - To ensure that the development is implemented in such a way as to minimise the highway impact of the development and encourage the use of sustainable modes of transport


7)         unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority the school teaching day for the development hereby approved shall not commence before 0915 hours or end before 1545 hours.

Reason - To minimise the potential for overlapping traffic movements associated with the proposal and the nearby Exwick Heights Primary School in the interests of minimising the potential impact on the local highway network.


(Report circulated)


Supporting documents: